Evidence Based

Natural Approaches To Lower Inflammation (& Decrease Granulocytes)

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

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Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc...]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract.

1) Stop Smoking

Smoking was strongly linked to high granulocytes in a study of 38K people. In a study of 1,730 people, granulocytes levels decreased after smoking was stopped [1].

2) Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is incredibly important to the function of your immune system. In a pilot of study eight people, sleeping only four hours a night for three nights increased neutrophil levels by 34% [2].

Neutrophil levels increased by 30% after a single night of no sleep in 16 people [3].

Getting enough sleep, therefore, may help prevent your neutrophil levels from increasing [2, 3].

3) Reducing Stress

Stress may increase neutrophil levels, which means that avoiding or managing stress may help prevent your neutrophil levels from increasing [4].

4) Avoid Chemical Exposure

Heavy metals such as lead and mercury can cause high granulocyte levels. Other compounds that increase granulocyte levels include [5]:

  • Digitalis
  • Camphor
  • Antipyrine
  • Phenacetin
  • Quinidine
  • Pyrogallol
  • Turpentine
  • Arsphenamine
  • Insect venom

5) Vegan and Ketogenic Diets

Vegans have lower granulocytes levels than non-vegetarians. A low calorie, vegan diet reduced neutrophil and eosinophil levels in a pilot study of 14 people [6, 7, 8].

In 52 people, eating a ketogenic diet for 12 months decreased neutrophil levels [9].

6) Fasting

Ramadan is a religious practice in Islam that involves a month of intermittent fasts for most of the day (sunrise to sunset).

In a study of 28 Muslims, Ramadan decreased neutrophils by 18% [10].

Ramadan reduced neutrophils by 7% in 90 Muslims [11].

While fasting decreases neutrophils, it also improves their ability to engulf and destroy pathogens [12].

7) Boswellia serrata

Boswellia serrata gum resin (Indian frankincense) decreased eosinophils in a study of 80 people [13].

8) Garlic (Allicin)

Neutrophil levels increased in rabbits infected with P. multocida bacteria. Allicin, the main active component of garlic, decreased neutrophil levels [14].

Natural Diet & Lifestyle Approaches That May Increase Neutrophils If They Are Low

1) Intense Exercise

Several studies of 141 total people have found that intense exercise including endurance exercise and strength training can substantially increase neutrophil levels. Exercise releases neutrophils from the bone marrow at a higher rate [15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22].

2) Dark Chocolate

A pilot study of 18 people found that fifty grams of dark chocolate (90% cocoa) increased neutrophil levels by 15% [23].

3) Caffeine

Caffeine increased both neutrophils and eosinophils in mice [24].

In a study of 22 people, caffeine increased neutrophil levels by 9%. In the group that exercised and supplemented with caffeine, neutrophil levels were increased by 58% [25].

Caffeine, dark chocolate, and intense exercise may increase granulocyte levels.

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen won the genetic lottery of bad genes. As a kid, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine.Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers.Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO of SelfHacked, SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer.His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.
Joe has been studying health sciences for 17 years and has read over 30,000 PubMed articles. He's given consultations to over 1000 people who have sought his health advice. After completing the pre-med requirements at university, he founded SelfHacked because he wanted to make a big impact in improving global health. He's written hundreds of science posts, multiple books on improving health, and speaks at various health conferences. He's keen on building a brain-trust of top scientists who will improve the level of accuracy of health content on the web. He's also founded SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer, popular genetic and lab software tools to improve health.

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